I’m passionate about making mindfulness relevant, so last week I tried something a little different, and 5 people came up to me after my keynote to tell me they cried. Many more to say about how much it resonated with them.
So what bought people to tears and what gave me the courage to share, what I lovingly call my bathroom floor moment?
For anyone who hasn’t read Elizabeth Gilbert’s book (or seen the movie Eat Pray Love starring Julia Roberts), a bathroom floor moment, is when you find yourself on your knees praying (to God, the universe, or some higher power) for help because you’ve made such an absolute dog’s breakfast of your life, and you don’t know what to do.
I’ve avoided doing this on stage for almost 13 years. I told myself it wasn’t relevant, wouldn’t be valuable, and people probably couldn’t relate.
But secretly, I just didn’t want to look foolish. I was image managing (trying to look good) big time…
My dear colleague Michael Bunting once told me, if you’re going to share something deeply personal, make sure you’re not using your keynote for personal therapy!
That always stuck with me – and up until this point – I just wasn’t ready.
I’d shared a few titbits of what happened, but some things (the really messy stuff) were just too embarrassing and cringeworthy.
But this time, I no longer felt any angst or negativity about what happened. The story had no ‘zing’ left in it.
Without going into unnecessary detail, blaming anyone, or side-stepping what actually happened, I openly shared the role I’d played. I took responsibility for being a people pleaser, a conflict avoider, and a very big fibber (I lied to myself – which is the very worst kind).
So why share my messy story when talking about workplace mindfulness? What’s the point?
I wanted to get across a very important point: that mindfulness is not just a relaxation tool to calm you down and reduce stress, but a vital practice for growing self-awareness so you don’t keep repeating unhelpful (and in my case wildly destructive) behaviours that will (unless exposed and interrupted) continue to complicate your life.
It was a freeing experience…
People resonated with being crazy busy, stressed out, overwhelmed, and disconnected. It’s just so common today.
We all have so much on our plates and very few adults have ever been purposely taught how to manage ‘life’.
When I explained how our biology inadvertently creates suffering – through mind wandering, our negativity bias, distress intolerance, and fast brain reactivity, and how mindfulness practices counterbalance things – lightbulbs lit up.
PS We all know how bad I am at getting photos and marketing, but I bribed the audience with a copy of my book Crazy Busy, and a kind woman took this photo (unfortunately she missed my fabulous shoes).